33 victims of wartime forced labour launch lawsuit in So. Korea against 6 Japanese companies

Author: YonHap News Agency, Published on: 15 January 2020

"33 forced labor victims and bereaved families sue 6 Japanese companies" 14 Jan 2020

A group of 33 Korean victims of wartime forced labor in Japan and their bereaved families living in the southwestern city of Gwangju and South Jeolla Province launched a joint compensation lawsuit against six Japanese companies Tuesday.

The 33 plaintiffs include two surviving victims of Japanese forced labor, while the other 31 victims were all deceased and represented by their children or grandchildren in the second such lawsuit initiated in the Gwangju-South Jeolla region.

Fifteen of the plaintiffs filed suits against Hokkaido Coal and Boat Co., nine against Mitsubishi Mining Co., four against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, three against Mitsui Mining Co., one against Nishimatsu Construction and one against Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

They said the lawsuit will clearly reveal anti-human and illegal acts committed by the Japanese government and companies during wartime, emphasizing it is difficult to improve friendship and relationships between Korea and Japan without reflecting on the past...

In November 2018, the Supreme Court upheld two rulings -- one that ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay between 100 million won and 120 million won each to five women and another that ordered the company to pay 80 million won each to six other forced labor victims. Following the rulings, Mitsubishi's assets in South Korea have been seized.

But Mitsubishi and other Japanese companies have not accepted the South Korean court rulings, escalating bilateral diplomatic conflict between Seoul and Tokyo.

Korea was under Japan's brutal colonial rule from 1910-45. South Korea says Japanese leaders and companies do not sincerely repent for the country's past wrongdoings and refuse to take full legal responsibility.

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Related companies: Kawasaki Heavy Industries Mitsubishi Group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Mitsui Mining Nishimatsu Construction